This story originally appeared on WESA.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will raise rates for the 15th year in a row starting in 2023. The 5% increase will take effect on Jan. 8.
Though commercial traffic on the Turnpike exceeded pre-pandemic levels this year, the Commission is still responsible for millions of dollars in annual payments to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to help fund public transportation.
The Commission’s 2023 fiscal plan noted “Passenger and commercial revenue for Fiscal 2022 is up 10.8% and 25.9%, respectively, compared to the same time period in Fiscal 2019. Total toll revenues are 17.5% higher for the same time period.”
But according to PTC CEO Mark Compton, Turnpike tolls will likely continue to increase in coming years as the Commission pays off debt on past payments to PennDOT.
“The PTC has been forced to increase tolls annually through the foreseeable future to meet its financial obligations under Act 44 of 2007, ” Compton said in a statement when the increase was first announced.
Act 44 was meant to expand tolling in the state. PTC would collect the money and make payments to PennDOT that would fund transit programs across the state. But after an application to make I-80 a toll road was denied, PTC was still on the hook for providing $450 million to PennDOT annually.
A later law amended the payments. Starting in 2023, PTC will pay PennDOT $50 million each year.
“It’s worth noting that, even with these ongoing annual increases, our per-mile toll rate continues to be below the midline compared with rates of other U.S. tolling agencies,” Compton said.
The most common toll for a passenger vehicle will increase from $1.70 to $1.80 for E-ZPass users and from $4.10 to $4.40 for Toll By Plate users.
The most common toll for a Class-5 tractor trailer will increase from $13.70 to $14.40 for E-ZPass users and from $28 to $29.40 for Toll By Plate users.
The PTC estimates tolls will increase 5% through 2025, 4% in 2026, 3.5% in 2027, and 3% annually from 2028 to 2050.